The Gut-Brain Connection
Have you ever heard of the term butterflies in my stomach, or go with your gut?
These are terms are describing our inbuilt gut-brain connection. The way our brain and gut are connected is both physically and biochemically through the vagus nerve and the nervous system (neurotransmitters).
When thinking of improving gut health a naturopath will always consider the gut-brain connection. An imbalanced gut can send signals to the brain and vice versa, however, most of the information that travels though the vagus nerve is from the gut to the brain. This means that if you suffer from anxiety or depression, you may be surprised to hear your naturopath say let’s consider your digestive health. It's a proven fact that if you nourish your gut microbiome you may feel happier. For example, anxiety and depression have been improved in some people by adding certain probiotics called psychobiotics to their diet.
Probiotic, prebiotics, herbal medicine and certain foods can help treat both the digestive system and thereby the brain. But what does this mean for you and how do nourish your gut to improve its function and also wellbeing?
A great start is a high fibre diet full of colourful fresh fruits and vegetables, which enhances our digestive health by feeding our gut bacteria. Also needed for a healthy gut is a diet rich in essential fatty acids such as omega 3’s and fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, and miso.
As a first step we recommend you to try these gut/brain enhancing foods:
- Hemp seeds, chia seeds, gluten free oats, cinnamon, nuts and berries
- Green leafy vegetables, probiotics, fermented foods and turmeric
- Prebiotics such as inulin, partially hydrolysed guar gum, and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)
- Herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm, meadowsweet, fennel, peppermint, ginger - these herbs (and others) can be prepared into a customised blend by any of our in-store naturopaths
If you'd like to find out more visit our Byron or Mullum stores and talk to our friendly Naturopaths about your individual needs. All Santos naturopaths are degree qualified, and having undertaken a four year degree they are amongst the most highly trained naturopaths in the world.